Out of The Broomcloset August/September 2010


Out of the Broomcloset     August/September 2010   553 words       Leon Calafiore



I must go down to the Sea again,

For the call of the running tide,

Is a wild call, and a clear call,

That may not be denied.    

John Mansfield, from his “Sea Fever”


And who of us have not felt a similar call (or been dragged down to the shore on a family vacation), somewhere between Keansburg and Cape May? Nowadays, dear readers, you might be more inclined to partake of the indoor delights of Asbury Park or Atlantic City; but even then, the point where the sea meets the shore summons us.  There is magic there, and a wealth of materials to use in your own magic.  Or you might prefer more exotic materials that do not, alas, wash up here with the tides.


We’re talking bivalves and gastropods here people, seashells for the asking, beachcombing with a purpose.  Surf Clams are good for more than beach house ashtrays; they can have a wick laid in then (store bought or braided by you), and act as a lamp when oil is added.  A classic range of love charms (such shells are specific to Aphrodite/Venus) use this sort of lamp; a frayed jean hem or a few strands of hair from your intended are woven into a wick, Myrrh or Heliotrope oil is the fuel (along with your desire).  Start this on a Friday with the Moon waxing/ increasing.  At this time of summer, sometime around 10:30 to 11 P.M. would be perfect.


Such lamps were also used for various sorts of divination, asking questions of the flames, receiving yes or no answers by the flame shooting up or not.  When in mixed company, you can pass off your mumbling as the result of one too many cocktails, if necessary.  Of course, it can be a group endeavor, if the power is out, and there’s no Ouija board to hand (who stocks these summer rentals anyway)?


Other common shells on are shores are: Moon snail shells, for tapping into psychic and intuitive work, Scallops for travel and movement, Oysters for love and good fortune, Welks for change and transformation.


All of these may also be employed to carry your spells, prayers, or messages down to the shoreline, where the lapping waves will dissolve you written charm, and convey it, through the medium of water, to completion.  The key here to use a medium that easily dissolves in water, be it paints, inks, or eyeliners.  As the charm itself need not be legible to prying eyes, it can also be written with honey added to water, cranberry juice, berries, or anything else appropriate to the task at hand (though I would avoid the brine from the Jumbo Olives, unless it’s a break-up spell). 


These should be placed near to the water’s edge as the Moon is rising, when Waxing to bring things to you, when Waning to release or dismiss, and generally take a full Lunar cycle to manifest.  Frame a spoken request or prayer to deliver while depositing it, suitable to the sense of the occasion, and your particular sensibilities.  While a food or drink offering could be left as payment, the more appreciated one these days would be to come with a bag, and police the beach around you; haul away the trash; what could be more pleasing to a Mother?